Harvey L. Hall, Bakersfield, California’s 25th Mayor, and an EMS pioneer, as the founder of Hall Ambulance Service, lost his life to CJD on May 19, 2018, just two weeks and seven hours after diagnosis.He was one of the longest-serving mayors in Bakersfield's history, serving from 2000-2016.
Searching for answers, his wife of 28 years, Lavonne Hall found solace in discovering the CJD Foundation and learned about the Strides for CJD events. After reading about the success of events in other communities, she was inspired to organize a Strides for CJD event in Bakersfield to create greater awareness about prion disease while providing an opportunity for those who knew her husband to gather in remembrance of his contributions to Bakersfield and Kern County. In less than two months, they were able to pull together a successful event thanks to the support of the community, business and media partners, and Hall Ambulance employees and their families who participated in the 2-mile leisure walk or 5K.
Proceeds from Strides for CJD allow the CJD Foundation to provide family support, medical education, and funding for research programs related to Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease. Team Big H from Bakersfield was the top fundraising Strides for CJD team in the nation.
Lavonne said "planning this event and talking to people and seeing the outpouring of love and people donating for me—it’s just been really healing to see that."
Hall's family members were all thrilled to see the turn out and were thankful to everyone who came out support the stride towards a cure for CJD.The Halls have also been working diligently alongside the CJD Foundation ever since the passing of Hall and they say they are dedicated to finding a cure and educating as many people as they can about CJD.
This video, produced by Hall Ambulance Service in association with KERO 23 ABC, details the onset and rapid progression of Mayor Hall’s illness, his family’s sudden loss, and how Lavonne was inspired to become an advocate to find a cure for CJD. This video premiered at the 2019 CJD Foundation Family Conference banquet.
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